Tuesday, June 3, 2008

green curry


Here's the anecdotal recipe for green curry and coconut soup. It's adapted from a recipe in Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Hot Sour Salty Sweet, which often seems like more of a travel guide than an every day kind of cook book, although there are some fantastic recipes in it. Green curry paste is usually paired with poultry with lots of basil and lime leaves, but I used snapper because it's what I had. I won't again, as I discovered snapper is on the AVOID list from ocean wise. Maybe line-caught halibut? Or wild salmon?

1 can coconut milk
2 or 3 tbsp green curry paste (recipe follows)
1 tbsp thai fish sauce
A good handful green beans, trimmed (or whatever looks good at the market)
A good handful of asparagus, soaked well to remove any sand, chopped into halves
250 grams fish (halibut? salmon?)
salt to taste
1 bunch thai basil

Place a heavy pot over medium heat, and add a few tablespoons of the thick cream from the top of your can of coconut milk.
Stir as it heats and melts, then cook for about 5 minutes until the oil starts to separate. Add the paste with your fish sauce and stir to blend well. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until very fragrant.
Add the remaining coconut milk and and extra can of water (or stock if you'd like a richer soup). Bring to a simmer, then add your green beans. Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add your asparagus. Once it's gently bubbling again add your fish. You can add lime leaves here too, if you have them.
That's it. You want your veggies crisp, the fish just barely cooked through. Salt to taste and stir in your basil leaves.
Serve with rice, if you'd like.

1 tbsp coriander seeds (I was all out, and omitted to no ill effect)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1.25 cup minced cilantro roots (I substituted cilantro stems)
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 cup minced minced lemongrass
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tbsp chopped galangal (I substituted ginger and wild (kaffir) lime juice)
1 tbsp wild lime zest
1 serrano chili (see note)

Toast and grind the coriander and cumin. Grind the peppercorns. Place in a large mortar with the cilantro and a pinch of salt and pound until breaking down. Add the lemon grass and garlic and more salt and continue to pound. Continue with the shallots, then the galangal and lime zest, adding a pinch of salt each time and only continuing on to the next addition once the last is shapeless.
Store in a clean glass jar in the fridge. It should keep for about a month.

NOTE the recipe called for 1/2 a cup of bird chilies, but I don't like a lot of spice, and we were sharing with the two-year old. This made for a VERY mildly spiced soup.


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